MASON, Mich. – A planned auction of Ku Klux Klan items was canceled Saturday after fliers encouraging KKK membership were distributed in the community where the event was to be held.
Residents in Mason (search), a Lansing suburb where civil rights leader Malcolm X lived for a time, awoke to find the fliers in front of their homes on Saturday. The fliers did not mention Sunday's auction, but the Ole Gray Nash Auction House in Howell canceled the event regardless.
"We don't believe [the fliers were] actually authentic, but someone went to a lot of trouble," said Becky Hinz (search), an auction house employee. "It was something we chose not to partake in or assist in any way shape or form."
Hinz said there were no plans Saturday to reschedule the auction.
Gary Gray, who owns the Ole Gray Nash Auction House (search), has said he is not a KKK supporter and was simply interested in the items' historical value. A January auction of KKK memorabilia packed the auction house with spectators, while protesters called it insensitive. The items sold raised at least $24,000, the auction house said.
Gray said he wanted a bigger venue for the second auction. Three sites pulled out before the auction was finally scheduled for an events center in Mason.
No protests had been organized for the second auction.
Items to be sold included about 20 Klan uniforms, KKK knifes, T-shirts, patches, bumper stickers and pamphlets with titles such as "Jewish Press Control." Nazi, Black Panther and South African apartheid-era items were also expected to be sold.
Most of the items came from the estate of Robert Miles, a former Klan leader who lived in Michigan.
Malcolm X lived in Lansing and Mason as a boy until 1941, when he left Michigan.